Fears are growing for the safety of the England players ahead of their final Euro 2024 qualifier against North Macedonia on Monday night.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions have already qualified top of the group, so the main focus for many will be getting through unscathed.
A number of players have already withdrawn from the squad with injury and there are worries about more casualties on Monday.
The pitch in North Macedonia is in a terrible condition, having been relaid six weeks ago, and has a layer of coarse sand and stones on the top.
“That’s why you want to make sure you’re qualified well in advance,” Southgate said of the pitch.
“We said that right at the start of the qualifying campaign, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get away from home.”
Southgate also insisted that Premier League managers would still be concerned about players, regardless of the state of the pitch.
He added: “No, we wouldn’t take any chances with players.
“Jarrod Bowen hasn’t travelled. He was just feeling something after training and we didn’t have time to really assess it.
“It would probably need a scan to give us the confidence that we’re not taking a chance. We never take a chance with a player, really.”
talkSPORT’s England reporter Faye Carruthers was able to inspect the pitch close up and gave an insight into just how bad it is.
“It’s pretty terrible,” she said. “I went and had a look at close quarters last night and it looks patchy.
“When you go right down to pitchside, it looks really bad. It was relaid six weeks ago and it has not knitted properly. There’s quite coarse sand and stones within it.
“It doesn’t look great.
“Injuries are the concern and there will be managers in the Premier League looking at that closely.
“It’s not ideal. The North Macedonians have apologised for this previously because it didn’t look right, they’ve re-laid it and it still doesn’t look right.
“It is going to cause problems. They drew 1-1 with Italy on that pitch, so it is going to be a tricky one for England.”